Bang On A Can All-Stars Perform Japan Society Commissions from World Renowned Composers

Featuring World Premiere Commissions by Vijay Iyer and Mamoru Fujieda, and an Encore Performance of Somei Satoh’s Shu with Original Motion Graphics by Nobuyuki Hanabusa

Rimpa Reimagined

One Night Only! Saturday, December 8, 2012, 7:30 pm, at Japan Society


New York, NY – Japan Society announces an aurally and visually stunning evening of live music, art and innovative motion graphics inspired by Rimpa (a prominent Japanese painting and design movement spanning the 17th through 19th centuries), taking place on Saturday, December 8 and featuring a full-length performance by the internationally acclaimed sextet Bang on a Can All-Stars.

In the one-night-only concert Rimpa Reimagined, the All-Stars give the world premiere of two pieces commissioned by Japan Society: Rimpa Ephemera, by prominent jazz pianist and composer Vijay Iyer, and Gamelan Cherry by the celebrated post-minimalist composer Mamoru Fujieda. The performance concludes with Somei Satoh's rarely-heard composition Shu (Spells), premiered by Japan Society in 2004 as a Bang on a Can commission. The piece is accompanied by large-scale, Rimpa-inspired visual projections, created exclusively for this concert by cutting-edge animator and motionographer Nobuyuki Hanabusa.

The evening's commissioned compositions from both Fujieda and Iyer draw direct inspiration from the Japanese traditional painting movement Rimpa, as featured in the current Japan Society Gallery exhibition, Silver Wind: The Arts of Sakai Hōitsu (1761-1828), recently hailed as "ravishing" by the New York Times.

"With Rimpa Ephemera," says composer Vijay Iyer, "I am attempting something I know to be impossible: a direct translation of a visual experience into a musical experience. From perceptual and geometric analyses of the grand, improvised arm and hand gestures of Hōitsu's Waves, the gentler poetic near-realism of his Winter Beauty, and Suzuki Kiitsu's stylized, manic swarm of Morning Glories, I derive musical acts that directly represent the gestural brushstrokes, or the rhythms of the perceiving eye."

Of his new work, Gamelan Cherry, Mamoru Fujieda explains, "Sakai Hōitsu's cherry blossoms begin to sing. My work will be based on patterns derived from the subtly changing electric potentials in cherry blossoms." Likewise, motionographer Nobuyuki Hanabusa, whose work for the evening will incorporate manipulation of the traditional Rimpa paintings' motifs, notes that he is "thrilled to show the transformation of Rimpa's still images into a moving world."

Attendees are strongly encouraged to come early and explore Silver Wind: The Arts of Sakai Hōitsu (1761-1828), open until 7:30pm on December 8 with free admission for concert ticket holders.

Bang on a Can has an impressive record of commitment to collaborations with leading Japanese composers, and has commissioned and premiered works by Yoko Ono (2010), Ryuichi Sakamoto (2009), Tatsuya Yoshida (2011) and Nobukazu Takemura (2004) in addition to the pieces to be performed on this concert by Somei Satoh (2004). Over the years, Bang on a Can has also collaborated with or presented performances by Japanese artists including the Kazue Sawai Koto Ensemble, Toshio Hosokawa, Akiko Ushijima, choreographer Yoshiko Chuma, and the band Ne-Ne, among others.

"We are so excited to be working with the Japan Society," says Bang on a Can co-founder David Lang. "Over the years Bang on a Can has had many great experiences with some of Japan's leading composers -commissioning their music, bringing them to New York, and playing their pieces at leading venues and festivals around the world. Strangely, though we have performed all over Asia, we have never been to Japan. We hope to change that soon."

To sample sounds of the music from this one-of-a-kind evening, including performances by Bang on a Can All-Stars and other compositions by Vijay Iyer, Mamoru Fujieda and Somei Satoh, click to load an event-specific Spotify playlist:


Bang on a Can All-Stars: Rimpa Reimagined
Saturday, December 8, 7:30 pm, Followed by a MetLife Meet-the-Artists Reception
**World Premieres of Japan Society Commissions by Vijay Iyer and Mamoru Fujieda and Somei Satoh's Shu (Spells, 2004) with new motion graphics by Nobuyuki Hanabusa
File Under: Classical, Experimental, Instrumental, Japan, Multimedia

New York's fiery music group, Bang on a Can All-Stars, which "combin[es] the power and punch of a rock band with the precision and clarity of a chamber ensemble," (The New York Times), unveils new Japan Society-commissioned works drawing inspiration from Rimpa, a Japanese painting movement that spanned the 17th through 19th centuries. The program features two pieces: one by red-hot New York-based composer Vijay Iyer, and the second by celebrated Japanese post-minimalist composer Mamoru Fujieda. In addition, the All-Stars revive Somei Satoh's Shu (Spells, 2004), for the first time since its world premiere at the Society in 2004. Shu is enhanced by a Rimpa art-inspired visual landscape created specifically for this concert by leading Japanese motionographer Nobuyuki Hanabusa. The concert is presented in conjunction with Japan Society's gallery sho Silver Wind: The Arts of Sakai Hōitsu (1761-1828), which will be open until open until 7:30pm performance night and free to with concert ticket holders. Tickets are $28/$23 Japan Society members can be purchased online at or by phone at 212-715-1258.

Artist Websites:


Silver Wind: The Arts of Sakai Hōitsu (1761-1828)
Through Sunday, January 6, 2013

Hailed as “ravishing” by the New York Times, this first American retrospective of Japan’s celebrated samurai-turned-monk, Sakai Hōitsu, delights with compositional daring and seasonal splendor. Reviving the Rimpa tradition, Hōitsu tamed the raw power of nature--from still, spirited animals and hypnotic tableaus to elegantly rendered bursts of blooms and grand, crashing waves. The exhibition features 58 masterpieces, including folding screens, hanging scrolls, and fans, as well as lacquer works and woodblock-printed books, from public and private collections throughout the United States, including five loans from The Metropolitan Museum of Arts.. Tue-Thu, 11-6; Fri, 11-9; Sat & Sun, 11-5; closed Mondays and major holidays. Admission: $15/$12 students and seniors/FREE Japan Society members and children under 16. Admission is free to all on Friday nights, 6:00-9:00 pm


Bang on a Can is dedicated to making music new. Since its first Marathon concert in 1987, Bang on a Can has been creating an international community dedicated to innovative music, wherever it is found. With adventurous programs, it commissions new composers, performs, presents, and records new work, develops new audiences, and educates the musicians of the future. Bang on a Can is building a world in which powerful new musical ideas flow freely across all genres and borders. Bang on a Can plays "a central role in fostering a new kind of audience that doesn't concern itself with boundaries. If music is made with originality and integrity, these listeners will come" (The New York Times).

Bang on a Can celebrated 25 years during the 2011-2012 season, having grown from a one-day New York-based Marathon concert (on Mother's Day in 1987 in a SoHo art gallery) to a multi-faceted performing arts organization with a broad range of year-round international activities. "When we started Bang on a Can in 1987, in an art gallery in SoHo, we never imagined that our one-day, 12-hour marathon festival of mostly unknown music would morph into a giant international organization dedicated to the support of experimental music, wherever we would find it," write Bang on a Can Co-Founders Michael Gordon, David Lang and Julia Wolfe. "But it has, and we are so gratified to be still hard at work, all these years later. The reason is really clear to us - we started this organization because we believed that making new music is a utopian act-that people needed to hear this music and they needed to hear it presented in the most persuasive way, with the best players, with the best programs, for the best listeners, in the best context. Our commitment to changing the environment for this music has kept us busy and growing for the last 25 years, and we are not done yet."

Current projects include the annual Bang on a Can Marathon; The People's Commissioning Fund, a membership program to commission emerging composers; the Bang on a Can All-Stars, who tour to major festivals and concert venues around the world every year; recording projects; the Bang on a Can Summer Music Festival - a professional development program for young composers and performers led by today's pioneers of experimental music; Asphalt Orchestra, Bang on a Can's extreme street band that offers mobile performances re-contextualizing unusual music; Found Sound Nation, a new technology-based musical outreach program now partnering with the State Department of the United States of America to create Onebeat, a revolutionary, post-political residency program that uses music to bridge the gulf between young American musicians and young musicians from developing countries; cross-disciplinary collaborations and projects with DJs, visual artists, choreographers, filmmakers and more. Each new program has evolved to answer specific challenges faced by today's musicians, composers and audiences, in order to make innovative music widely accessible and wildly received. Bang on a Can's inventive and aggressive approach to programming and presentation has created a large and vibrant international audience made up of people of all ages who are rediscovering the value of contemporary music.

Founded in 1907, Japan Society is a world-class, multidisciplinary hub for both English and Japanese-speaking artists and audiences. Since the inception of the Performing Arts Program in 1953, Japan Society has produced more than 600 showings of Japan's finest performing arts to an extensive American audience in and out of New York City. Program topics range from the traditional to the avant-garde. Japan Society commissions new works, administrates national tours, organizes residency programs for American and Japanese artists and develops and distributes educational programs. The Society is responsible for hosting more than 100 events each year. An American nonprofit, nonpolitical organization, the Society's overarching goal is to cultivate a constructive, resonant and dynamic relationship between the people of the U.S. and Japan.

Since the inception of the Performing Arts Program in 1953, Japan Society has introduced more than 600 of Japan's finest performing arts to an extensive American audience. Programs range from the traditional arts of noh, kyogen, bunraku and kabuki to cutting-edge theater, dance and music. The Program also commissions new works to non-Japanese artists, produces national tours, organizes residency programs for American and Japanese artists and develops and distributes educational programs.

Japan Society is located at 333 East 47th Street, between First and Second Avenues. The venue is accessible by the 4/5/6 trains via the 42nd Street-Grand Central Station or the E/V at Lexington Avenue and 53rd Street. Tickets for performances and related events at Japan Society can be purchased by calling the Box Office at 212-715-1258 or in person at Japan Society (M-F 11:00am - 6:00pm and Sat-Sun 11:00am - 5:00pm). For more information about shows, questions about the venue, or to learn more about the entire Performing Arts season at Japan Society, please call 212-715-1258 or visit us on the web at

This program is supported by Doug and Teresa Peterson and Toshiba America, Inc. MetLife Meet-the-Artists Reception support is provided by MetLife Foundation. Major support for Japan Society 2012-2013 Performing Arts Programs is provided by the Lila Wallace-Reader's Digest Endowment Fund and the Endowment for the Performing Arts, established with leadership gifts from the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation, The Globus Family, Kyocera Corporation, The Starr Foundation and Toyota Motor Corporation. MetLife Foundation is a Corporate Partner of Japan Society's 2012-2013 Performing Arts season. Japan Society is also grateful to the following individuals, foundations, and government agencies for their generous support: Dr. John K. Gillespie; The Fan Fox and Leslie R. Samuels Foundation, Inc.; Dr. and Mrs. Carl F. Taeusch II; Mr. Norton Belknap; Mr. Terry Brykczynski and Ms. Andrea Miller; Mr. James C. Nolan; Ms. Hiroko Onoyama; Howard and Sarah Solomon; Mr. Alex York; Paula S. Lawrence; and an anonymous donor. New York City Department of Cultural Affairs, in partnership with the City Council, and the New York State Council on the Arts with support of Governor Andrew Cuomo and the New York Legislature. Transportation assistance is provided by All Nippon Airways Co., Ltd. Yamaha is the official piano provider of Japan Society.

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Media Contacts:
John Seroff, Event Publicity,
Christina Jensen, Bang on a Can,
Shannon Jowett, Japan Society, 212-715-1205,
Kuniko Shiobara, Japan society, 212-715-1259,

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